In 2003 I began research into the establishment of the first woodland cemetery in Durham City. I had a deep interest in supporting individuals going through bereavement having lost both my parents within days of each other. I also wanted to explore ways of reducing funeral poverty in our community.

 

In 2012 after spending £22,000 of my own money the Woodland Burial Trust was launched. I also wanted to ensure I, and other Directors  would not financially benefit from our work. So the company was converted into a Community Interest Company (CIC) ensuring independent regulation and profits directed towards good causes. Later I went further and converted the company further into a ‘CIC Cooperative’ handing control and decision making over to its members. 

 

 

 

Sadly, after an impressive start, trouble began to brew instigated by a small group of individuals. Complaints were made to the local authority, CIC Regulator, Police and Official Receiver. All of these malicious complaints were investigated and dismissed. However, following the stress associated with this I decided to leave resulting in the demise of the project. 

 

I guess the modus operandi of these individuals were to take control and run the project themselves. However, they only succeeded in creating stress and anxiety among a number of individuals, many who were elderly and vulnerable.

 

The full story is available at www.woodlandburialtrust.org.uk